Josh Wachs launched Wachs Strategies in 2016 to share his multi-sector expertise with leaders. As President of Wachs Strategies, Josh maximizes social impact for his clients. Josh draws on over two decades of leadership experience in the private, government, and non-profit sector to help client’s deliver social change.
He has been the architect of numerous complex social impact strategies – leveraging organizational assets including programmatic, communications, marketing, and government relations elements – to solve pressing social problems while measurably impacting the bottom line.
Where did you study and get your start professionally? What other hats did you wear before becoming a social impact consultant?
I have had the opportunity to work in a number of sectors – academic, politics, non-profit management, and the private sector, all of which have influenced my approach to consulting. I got my start in politics – first as an activist during my studies at Oberlin College then doing youth organizing and working on and running campaigns from state legislative to US Senate in places as diverse as South Carolina, Texas, New York, Virginia and California. I ended up in DC at the Democratic National Committee where I served in numerous roles culminating as COO during the 2004 Presidential election. During that time, I managed a staff of 400 plus with an operating budget of over 500 million, led an infrastructure reset including the transformational expansion of fundraising for the DNC, created the tradition of primary debates and worked on coordinating media and grassroots campaigns.
I moved back to my hometown of New York City, got married, and worked in academia as an Associate Dean at The New School. My passion for basketball led me to a position as Vice President for Community Relations at the NBA and WNBA. During my time with the NBA, I managed the strategy, partnerships and marketing for the league’s philanthropic and public service platform, NBA Cares.
As we began a family, we moved back to DC, and I served as Chief Strategy Officer for Share Our Strength, where I launched the No Kid Hungry campaign to end childhood hunger in America. I used my previous experience to partner with government, corporate partners, the culinary community and nonprofits to lead organizational strategy for more than 1,000 grants per year with the largest nonprofit nutrition education program for low-income families.
In 2016, I founded Wachs Strategies to bring these lessons on cross-sectional change to a wide-range of social impact clients.
What do you feel you do best for your clients and fellow team members at Wachs Strategies?
I pride myself on being personally “hands on” during the course of a project. This helps me to know the ins and outs of clients and a deep understanding of their needs. We limit the number of clients so that the people who you see during the selection process are the same throughout. Our team is made up of senior members who each have over a decade of relevant experience.
In organizational consulting it is important to look at the big picture. I push clients to think about “what could be” if you are to succeed in your mission. This means spending a lot of time working to bring different perspectives to the table – often “unusual suspects,” to solve for today or plan for the future. This engages a wide range of stakeholders within the client’s internal and external landscape. I like to provide one on one support to leaders during the project.
I love what I do and bring that enthusiasm and passion to every engagement. I’d like to believe that this rubs off on our clients and gives my colleagues additional motivation.
What are you passionate about besides your work at Wachs Strategies consulting?
I am passionate about raising my family. We love the mountains of Wyoming, and we love to travel at every chance. I am also an avid fan of Bruce Springsteen and have been to over two dozen of his concerts. Politics has always been in my veins, and I love election nights!